Today, there is almost no field into which Egyptian women have not ventured, yet their status in society remains unequal to that of men. While many factors account for the prevailing gender gap, male-dominated institutions have continued to relegate women’s concerns to a low priority, impeding their progress. This monograph contends that recent public discourse in Egypt is dominated by the conservative polemics of the Islamists and that the state, in its attempt to contain the Islamists, has subordinated women’s issues to its own concerns for security and legitimacy. Renewed appeals urging women to retreat to the private sphere and the appearance of the Islamic attire reflect the blurring of boundaries between the secular and the religious. The present condition of Egyptian women is summarized in this monograph as a prelude to illustrating how women’s issues continue to be relegated to a subordinate position for political expediency. The concluding chapter presents resistance strategies that a number of civil society organizations are adopting to create alternative discourses that give women their rightful positions in the private and public spheres.
Guenena, Nemat and Nadia Wassef. 1999. "Unfulfilled Promises: Women's Rights in Egypt." Cairo: Population Council.